Review by DandyQuackShot
You can always judge a person by the company he keeps. The quote is one of many of famed assassin Altair as he uproots the remaining Templars in Cyprus. The Templars decided to regroup on Cyprus to begin reestablishing their order after the events of the first Assassin's Creed game. Bloodlines features an all new story in between the first and second game but for me this is actually the my first time playing an Assassins Creed game. No doubt, I have missed out on the console games and have plenty of catching up to do, but even for starters to the series, Bloodlines is a great part of the Assassin's Creed series. I would presume that the abilities and game play of Assassin's Creed on the console is a bit more advanced than the simple mechanics of Bloodlines. Altair has some serious ninja and bone density skills with the quick jumping abilities he has to move around faster than Batman or Spider Man through the different districts in the game. I found Assassin's Creed Bloodlines a few months ago at Gamestop for brand new and after beating this game I do not feel too bad about having paid full price for it. For the PSP system it is a very formidable game.
Altair has a colorful cast of characters to dispose of in Assassin's Creed Bloodlines. The Templars have a strong military presence set up in Cyprus to recruit the locals into becoming the next crusaders into the Holy Land. Here they are also preparing to seek out the mysterious artifact called the Apple of Eden, which Altair's master once possessed. The Apple of Eden give the possessor the ability to control the minds of men around him. Altair himself is an independent sort of guy who does his own thing and wants to find the answers to life all by himself. Altair encounters an adventurous woman from the island of Britain who becomes a very helpful ally in his Cyprus quest. Armand Bouchart is the main bad guy and he has plenty of miscreants to put in Altair's way. Removing Bouchart removes the Templar presence from Cyprus and prevents another crusade into the Holy Land. That's the one thing I enjoyed about the game in that it has plenty of bosses to fight.
I don't know how the story compliments the rest of the Assassin's Creed story but I would guess that Maria could be a character that comes back in the console games. As for the bad guys in the game, they definitely won't be making any appearances in the console games unless there is a prequel.
Altair has some very envious skills of climbing and being able to fall from very high places and not get hurt. You can easily scale buildings and for certain times you will need to make it to the top of the highest point in a district to synchronize a hideout location. Here is the Assassin's Creed version of a Batman moment when you can also jump from these ultra high locations into a mound of hay. In reality I doubt you could recover from such a jump. In Cyprus there are multiple districts that you can access by gates. Throughout there are areas such as the mounds of hay where you can hide from soldiers and you can also run into bonus missions by finding informants who will snitch on any locals doing business for the Templars. Assassinations abound in this game and there are plenty of Templar loyalists looking to meet Altair's hidden blades.
The story will have you follow carry out certain objectives which go in the order of finding a hideout, meeting with the local resistance leader, interrogating a loyalist of the Templars, assassinating whoever that loyalist sings like a canary about, and then escaping back to the next hideout. You can assassinate anybody at any time during the game but have to be careful about raising awareness of the guards as well losing life bars if you kill a civilian. Of course nobody in Cyprus has the athletic skills of Altair so you can outrun all of the guards. There are four means of combat for Altair from the assassination, bare fists for interrogating, sword, and short sword with throwing knives. Three hits on a soldier will allow you to get in a killing blow and moves call for a take down move where Altair will run a guy through. You can also grab and shove enemies for a fun effect of shoving them off of buildings or into other guys to stop them from ganging up on you.
Bosses require some skill to beat. Your life bars will regenerate after a few seconds so in most cases you will have to run around in circles during a boss fight to be able to come back and engage Bouchart, the Bull, or the Oracle. Even a cool headed, Antonio Banderas speaking Assassin has to have a strategy and I found running around in circles helped out a lot. Ambushes are the next challenge and I found that having the high ground at the top of stairs or on top of building was the best place to fend off an attack by a group of soldiers and ruffians. Simply grabbing them and throwing them into each other works or tossing them off of buildings or into water works even better.
Saves are automatic and occur as soon as you complete an objective. If you do some of the bonus missions or go exploring you will find coins to use to purchase upgrades for Altair. I think I encountered one glitch with the game when I was not able to reach a synchronization point early on but I got past it by restarting from my last checkpoint.
With any PSP game or movie you definitely want to play Assassin's Creed Bloodlines with headphones. The sound is a hundred percent better with headphones. The music and voice dialogue is constant and engaging. I am not sure what is up with the futuristic memory log thing but I guess it is a going back in time sort of deal. The characters' faces are not much to watch during the short cut scenes but it works for the PSP's graphics ability. I liked the rude comments taken from the many Cyprus locals ambling about as you knock and run into them in the streets.
Bloodlines takes a day to get through. As a game that I played off and on it took me much longer to beat than probably what it should have taken me but you can't sit down as easily with the PSP as you can a console game. There is exclusive content to unlock if you hook this game up to your PS3, something I don't have but may float your boat if you are a Assassin's Creed fan and a PS3 owner. The bonus missions can be a challenge especially if you have not upgraded your abilities. Some of these local Templar loyalists I decided to deal with were actually harder to kill off than some of the bad guys from the objectives. So there is plenty of fun assassination challenge to go along with the game beyond reaching Armand Bouchart.
Final Recommendation 8/10
Assassin's Creed Bloodlines is a fun compliment to the console series and a great game that is compatible with the PSP. I enjoyed the simple game play of the game and even though it is the first game I played of the Assassin's Creed series it definitely got me interested in getting the three console games. Considering how long this game has been out I would not recommend purchasing it full price like I did, but it is definitely worth picking up if you are an Assassin's Creed fan or are looking for a PSP game that can hold up to its console versions.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/25/11
Game Release: Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines (US, 11/17/09)
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